UCI Mountainbike Marathon World Championships 2019 in Grächen
The Swiss remain at the home World Championships without winning a medal
Hector Leonardo Paez from Colombia and Pauline Ferrand-Prévot from France triumph at the Mountain Bike Marathon World Championships in Grächen. Lukas Flückiger and Ilona Chavaillaz both finished eighth as the best Swiss.
Mathias Flückiger had set himself a lot of goals, declared the Mountain Bike Marathon World Championships in Grächen an important goal for the season early on, and prepared himself for the competition accordingly. For a long time it looked very good for the 31-year-old Berner. He led the race for over 70 km, sometimes together with his brother Lukas.
Towards the end of the 95 km long race, however, the silver medallist left his strength in the cross-country. He dropped back and finished the race in 15th place. His brother Lukas, who was four years older than him, could not quite keep up the pace either, but he finished eighth and was thus the best Swiss. Mathias Flückiger summed up his last long ascent as simply running out of energy and added that he was already disappointed. "The goal had been to win a medal here."
New World Champion is Hector Leonardo Paez. For the 37-year-old long-distance specialist from Colombia, it is the first gold medal after a second place and three third places.
Pauline Ferrand-Prévot achieved a start-finish victory in the women's singles. The 27-year-old Frenchwoman, who became Cross Country World Champion for the second time at the end of August in Mont Sainte-Anne, took just under four hours to complete the 70 km circuit. Ferrand-Prévot is an exceptional cycling talent. In 2014 she won World Championship gold in the elite Ponferrada road race, still in her U23 age group. In 2015, she celebrated her victory as World Cycling and Cross Country Champion.
The Swiss did not play a role in the battle for medals. Ilona Chavaillaz ranked eighth. She was "very satisfied" with her performance and the result, said the 37-year-old from Freiburg, who had started the race slowly and had rolled up the field from behind. Esther Süss and Ariane Lüthi, the flagship of the Swiss long distance scene, finished 13th and 15th respectively.